Danger Zone ??

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by molo, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York
    Thanks for helping me with this JW. The light is the same width as the medicine cabinet, and did cover the existing receptacle box before. My concern is that the splices for the wires coming off the light were not actually in the box, but in the 1" gap behind the light and the sheetrock, is this up to code and safe? If so, I will reinstall it the same way, I will repair the sheetrock, and reuse this light because I like the light. Also, What do you think about how I should get power to the GFCI outlet?

    Thanks again,
    Molo
     
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The box will need to be behind the place where the wires go through the light fixture on the old fixture. The old box should be able to move this much even if it means moving the light up a little higher.

    To supply the receptacle read this
     
  3. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York

    OK, I understand. Next, how do I determine the size of the box I will need for the 4 wires? Also, is it acceptable to have the splices from the light fixture wires simply "floating" between the box and the back of the light fixture? If you look at the photo of the light fixture you will see that there is large open area along the entire back of the fixture. In other words, there is no physical barrier that surrounds the light fixture wires and connects to the box? Is this safe/to code?

    TIA,
    Molo
     
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    A round nail up box and a 2x4 scabbed between the studs


    NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
    NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

    After you do the wiring fix the hole behind the fixture.
    Try to make it look like you live there.
    Do the best job you can.
    Always walk away feeling proud of your work.
    Give it a full 110%.
    Get er done.
     
  5. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York
    Thanks for the reply, I want to do this 110% right. I won't commence work until I have a plan that is safe and functional. So I am spending all of this time to develop a safe and acceptable approach!
    Please be patient while I restate my question about the back of the light fixture...... I am planning to repatch the hole in the wall, with proper framing pieces installed in the stud cavity to secure the new box, sheetrock, and light fixture to. My question is regarding the fact that there the top and bottom edges of the light fixture hold the 14" x 3" center portion of the back of the light fixture away from the wall. Therfore allowing for a space that big (even with the new sheetrock behind it). In other words, when you install a switch or an outlet, the switch or outler cover serves to enclose the box. In the case of this light the back of the fixture has the large open cavity that will not be directly in contact with the box, and certainly not enclosing the box tightly like a switch or outlet cover. Is this acceptable?

    Hopefully I explained myself,
    Molo
     
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Now I am beginning to understand your question a little better. I went back to the original pictures where I can see that part of the fixture is missing.
    Where is the back of the fixture?

    Yes there should be a back to the fixture that seems to be missing. You may need to find a new fixture. There should never be open conductors exposed to the wall board.
     
  7. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York
    Thanks JW!
    I tryed to hard to explain the question, and I think you are getting my drift.
    This is a situation that I only see with light fixtures, occasionally I have installed new light fixtures where I have wondered about this. What I question is that you can have a brand new light fixture that is 10" in diameter (the new ones often have a piece of insulation with a foil face that goes against the sheetrock). None the less there is a 10" diameter light fixture covering a 4" diameter light receptacle, theoretically with no physical means of keeping the wires from drifting out of the light receptacle and between the foil-insulation that comes with the light and the sheetrock. Is it acceptable by code to allow this? Is this safe? This is the real question. With the answer to this question, I will have the answer to my light fixture problem. I'm assuming that code allows it, since almost any new light fixture has a larger diameter than the light receptacle does. But I don't want to assume that it is safe.
    Again, I hope I explained my question clearly.
    TIA,
    Molo
     
  8. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Indeed, part of the fixture is missing so get a new one.

    The good news is that you have unswitched power at the j box so you can install your GFCI correctly.

    Change that metal box to a plastic one. Single gang deep would give you plenty of room for 4 cables.

    Your hot pair (Black and white) will connect to the B and W to the GFCI.

    The WHITE wire going to your switch will be hooked to the blacks also (we call it a suicide switch). That is the power going TO the switch.

    The BLACK wire will be your "switch leg" coming back from the switch. It will attach to the black (hot) wire of your new fixture.

    The whiite (neutral) wire on your new fixture will attach (usually by means of a pigtail) to the other white neutrals.

    Follow the citcuit. It "comes in" on the black and "goes" back on the white.

    GROUND everything (metal) and TIGHTEN your wire nuts.


    To address your Q on lights being larger than the J box....If the drywall is tight around the box it is "safe". Drywall is not really combustible so the fire would be contained for a while, hopefully till the breaker tripped.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2007
  9. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York

    Thanks for the answer to my question about the lights over the J-box! I've been wondering about this for a long time. Are there specific openings around the j-box that code just won't allow? (1/2", 3/4" 1") At what point, if any, would an inspector say that the opening is too much?

    Thanks for the help,
    Molo
     
  10. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Occupation:
    Caretaker
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY
    1/8th.

    Plaster right to the edge of the box.
     
  11. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York
    Plot Thickens, Challenge Continues

    Look at that vent! It is right in the way of me moving the box over to the center of the med cab. and installing nice new light! That explains why they had the old box off to the left!
    The vent/light that I installed takes a 100w bulb, this is a small bathroom. Should I abandon putting a light above3 the med cab. or will the vent light not be enough?
    Any suggestions for abandoning the med-cab light, reusing the old box location, or relocating another light are very welcome.

    TIA,
    Molo
     

    Attached Files:

  12. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    leave the box location where it is and hang something like this

    [​IMG]

    use a hook in the ceiling to center the light back over the cabinet
     
  13. D.Smith

    D.Smith New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia
    Now why cant you just put a junction box with cover there and run 14/3 to back of light behind the wall where it would fit inside to do the splicing?
     
  14. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Occupation:
    Caretaker
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY
    D. Smith - because there's no room for a box between the pipe and the cabinet? And junction boxes have to remain accessible.

    Molo - I'm not 100% sure, but I think I've seen fixtures, similar to the one you had on there originally, that allow the wires to go through the middle or near then end of the fixture's back panel...

    Push comes to shove, could you lower the cabinet an inch?
     
  15. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York
    Hi frenchie,

    That's pushing and shoving, lol. The amount I have to lower it would depend on the size of the light fixture.
    Another option I've been considering is using the existing location of the box (at the top left of the med. cabinet) (where power comes into the bathroom), and using it for the GFCI outlet location, then everything in the bathroom will be GFCI protected. I would relocate the light receptacle to the ceiling centered above the med cab.( I want to avoid it being off-center of the med cab.) I would have to use the GFCI outlet box as a junction box where the switch wire, new med.cab light wire , and new bathfan/light wire would be. My concern with this is fitting all the wires in the box behind the GFCI. There would be power coming in (3-14gauge wires), power coming off the GFCI to be spliced with other wires (2-12gauge wires), the switch (3-14gauge wires), the med cab light (3-12gauge wires), and the new fan/light (3-12gauge wires), plus the GFCI outlet!
    A grand total of 6-14gauge wires coming in, 6 - 12gauge wires coming in, 2 -12gauge wires coming off the outlet within the box bringing power to the switch/light system, and the outlet.
    Is this even possible?
    Is there any easy way of doing this?
    Again the goal : "The goal: To safely install or reinstall the medicine cabinet light. To wire the new vent/light. To havde both the medicine cabinet light and vent controlled by the one bathroom switch. To add a GFCI outlet not controlled by the switch." (if the GFCI protects everything in the bathroom that would be a bonus, but not neccesary)

    Thanks for the patience and help,
    Molo
     
  16. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Occupation:
    Caretaker
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY
    I like the idea of everything being GFI protected, but it's not required by any codes I know of... Mike (jwelectric) is the code expert, though: wait till he confirms/denies this.

    Even if it wasn't overloading the box (and I think it would be), I just don't see how you could physically fit 4 runs, the required wire nuts, and a GFI in a normal receptacle box.

    I've come across this sort of problem before, though. My sparky uses a larger box:

    http://electrical.hardwarestore.com/14-45-electrical-boxes-metal/square-box-239574.aspx

    (you can also get extra-deep version of this, if you need even more room inside)

    With a mudring on it:

    http://electrical.hardwarestore.com/14-45-box-covers/4-square-cover-raised-1-4--662552.aspx

    The mudrings we use have a bit more depth on the raised ring. He installs them so that the ring's level with the wall finish surface, and I plaster/tape over the sides. You can still get to all the wires from the opening, so it's not a concealed junction box.

    Side-note: you want to leave your wires, in the box, longer than the usual 6". He usually leaves 9 or 10, for this kind of setup.


    BTW, overhead lighting in a bathroom really sucks when you're trying to shave, because of the shadows.





    Mike can tell me if this is legal - I've seen it a lot, in old work - could you run the light off a receptacle box installed sideways? Then it's only about 2" tall, and you'd have room between the pipe and the cabinet. Since all your junctions would be in the receptacle box, capacity wouldn't be an issue...
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2007
  17. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York
    I like this idea, I'd still need a large box to fit 12 wires coming in and out.
     
  18. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Sounds good to me.

    There are a few choices available to him and a few decisions he will have to make on his own,
     
  19. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    If you use a bath bar fixture like the one you took out, you can put the JBox where it was and drill/punch the back of the new fixture in the appropriate place. Use a BUSHING where the wires enter of course.
     
  20. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York
    Let me ask a question that perhaps I should have asked a long time ago. What makes the existing light dangerous? A couple of you have said that the back is missing, I can say that there is a front cover (not in photos) that goes over the part in the photos. The front cover (not in photos) has parts that cover the ends of the light fixture (in photos)running back to the wall. So, between the ends provided by the front part (not in photos), and the top and the bottom of the fixture (in photos), and the sheetrock on the wall (soon-to be) there is a complete enclosure around the wires. Is this dangerous? I know that alot of new light fixtures have insulation with a reflective layer, is this all that you guys are referring to when you say someting is missing or are you referring to the front cover with sides that run back to the wall(not in photos)? Exactly what is it that you guys think is missing? Based on what I just explained, does the light fixture still sound dangerous? There are 3 other bathrooms here, all with the same light over the medicine cabinet. Maybe I should answer these questions before I buy 3 more lights.
    Thanks,
    Molo
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2007
Similar Threads: Danger Zone
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Is this this main panel dangerous? Nov 24, 2020
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog All lights flickering when any load added -- normal, dangerous, or what? Jul 22, 2018
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Dangerous situation? Apr 16, 2015
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Elecrical Dangers: Road Worker Fatal Accident May 26, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog What are some dangerous things you pros have seen homeowners do? Jan 13, 2012

Share This Page